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Practice of Ethics vis-a-vis Technology

Part A

1. In the aftermath of the recent global economic recession many technology companies are finding it difficult to make a profit or even survive. Given the difficult economic conditions, according to Kant's theory, would these businesses be morally justified in using any tactics to gain advantage over their competition as long as those tactics are not prohibited by law? Carefully explain why or why not, according to Kant's theory. Be specific.

2. That ethical subjectivism is a seriously-flawed theory. One weakness is that subjectivism cannot adequately explain how moral progress or improvement is possible. In your own words briefly explain why this is true and why its failure to account for moral progress is a weakness in the theory.

3. The Project Management Institute (PMI) member code of ethics .has sometimes been criticized for being too vague and including some trivialities. Would you consider this criticism justified and legitimate? Briefly explain why or why not. Be specific.

Part B

1. Various computer systems handle assignment of e-mail addresses in different ways. The choice of what sort of addresses a site uses is usually determined by the administrators. Here at The University of Toledo student e-mail accounts generally follow the form: last name, initial of first name,@Toledo.edu. So if I want to send an e-mail to Charles Bradford, for example, I would use the address: [email address removed by system].
Problems can arise when more than one student has the same last name and first initial. At UF this is handled by assigning numbers, such as [email address removed by system], and [email address removed by system], and so on. But unless you actually know the person's e-mail address you could inadvertently send a personal message to the "wrong" Bradford. This could also happen if you accidentally left off the number, or typed the wrong number. Given the tendency of people to send amazingly personal information via e-mail, this means that the wrong person might end up learning a lot of private information unintentionally sent through e-mail. To minimize this problem, some have suggested allowing students to create their own e-mail name; yet, obviously, this could still lead to people choosing names nearly identical to someone else.

Do you think the university's current method for assigning student e-mail names is ethically satisfactory? Concisely and persuasively explain why or why not. Be specific. (If you think more should be done to protect the student's privacy, state your recommendation.)

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Dear Student,
You will notice that per each question, a discussion/narrative that directly answers the problems presented is provided. Some are longer due to the need of far lengthy explanations. Please take note that you cannot, under any circumstance submit these answers as your own. You must take care to use this solution only as your guide and adopt it into your own version and views. I hope this has been of use to you. Thank you for using Brainmass.

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones
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ETHICS AND TECHNOLOGY
Part A

1. In the aftermath of the recent global economic recession many technology companies are finding it difficult to make a profit or even survive. Given the difficult economic conditions, according to Kant's theory, would these businesses be morally justified in using any tactics to gain advantage over their competition as long as those tactics are not prohibited by law? Carefully explain why or why not, according to Kant's theory. Be specific.

Answer:
Immanuel Kant, the father of Sociology gave us the process of critical enquiry which resulted to the adaptation of the scientific process into social research. In terms of ethical positions, many refer to his ideas on what later on turned out to be utilitarianism - a philosophy usually referred to when one studies social systems. utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of the action is justified and determined by the overall result. In short, the end justifies the means in a social responsibility kind of way. It is a kind of consequentialist action wherein the moral worth of the actions taken is given justification by the outcome. Say for example in this current economic recession - companies are losing capital and investors, loans are not being paid, people are losing money, and with the economy suffering brought about by economic inactivity and the weakness of the dollar, jobs lost are little offset by the small set of jobs created via government incentive. Banks and financial institutions can only do so much to not throw out families and individuals defaulting on their mortgages. There are a host of horror stories of families, middle class families, living in cars. Were the actions of the banks foreclosing justified? In Las Vegas, huge numbers of developments and real estate ready for selling have remained empty with the nation's largest developers on the brink of bankruptcy. So companies let go of so much assets to remain afloat and let go, as much as possible of people once employed who are now redundant in the jobs they have. Some companies fight tooth and nail to not 'pay-out' redundancy packages to save some more on the side to keep afloat.
Is this justified? Let's say for example that companies let the defaulting families keep their homes, let's say for example, that the company keep all employees who have no use in the jobs they were first hired for since there is no need for that position anymore - does this serve the company any at all when the financial lifeline must be protected to remain afloat just until the economy picks up again, for, if a company cannot remain and totally goes under, then there is no more possibility for said company to recover and to rehire those they let go. For Kant, redundancies and repossessions of properties then is morally justified. Therefore, businesses, as long as the tactics they employ are within the bounds of the law, and as long as the results are what matters, then the tactics and actions employed are acceptable. Take for instance ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides a direct answer/discussion/narrative per question/problem presented in concise and comprohensive paragraphs. Discussing the relation and practice of ethics vis-a-vis technology, the solution provides guidance, perspectives and opinions philosophically and practically related to the subjects and concepts presented in the 2-part set of questions presented in the original posting (see problem). The solution is attached as a word-file for easy printing.

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